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Local Access Forum Report 2019

peak district landscape

Chair’s Introduction

The Peak District Local Access Forum continues to go from strength to strength with its reputation well established as an advisory and consultative group on access and recreation in the Peak District and NW Derbyshire. In 2019, we built on this strength by developing links with adjoining Local Access Forums with representatives from Derby and Derbyshire, Sheffield, and Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Local Access Forums attending our meetings. We look forward to developing further links as part of our 20th Anniversary celebrations in 2020.

The value of our work is confirmed by the many years of involvement from our volunteers and the interest of others in joining us or for referring matters to us. In 2019, we were sorry to see a number of experienced members leave us but are looking forward to working with our new members.

In the 70th anniversary year of the legislation which gave us National Parks, the report of the Landscapes Review was published to which we had previously provided comment. We supported many of the proposals and have a record of our thoughts and suggestions for when we hope the work will be taken forward by the government.

We are looking forward to the Peak District Foundation’s work with the launch of their #70kfor70 campaign and have also been pleased to support opportunities for donations for access improvements via the Access Fund and Mend our Mountains.

We continue to give considerable input to the National Park Management Plan and have been involved in advising on management of events, climate change and refreshing the countryside code.

We have been pleased to support the efforts being made to achieve increased accessibility by all particularly with the development of the Miles without Stiles project and for green lanes which continue to remain a key area of work.

Our members are our greatest asset having considerable knowledge, enthusiasm and love for the Peak District. They are also strong supporters of a partnership approach which is crucial to successful working with other interests. Thank you for the tremendous work of our two vice chairs, Charlotte Gilbert and Bob Berzins, and all LAF members together with the excellent support from officers from the Peak District National Park Authority and Derbyshire County Council.

I hope that you will read the rest of the annual report with interest to understand the nature of the work that the Forum has undertaken over the last year and will take the opportunity to hear our discussions and advice at meetings which are broadcast live.

John Thompson

Chair, Peak District Local Access Forum


Purpose of the Forum

The Peak District Local Access Forum (PDLAF) is a statutory body, appointed jointly by the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) and Derbyshire County Council (DCC). It covers the National Park and the countryside of north-west Derbyshire around Buxton, New Mills and Glossop. The Forum advises on the improvement of public access for the purpose of open-air recreation and enjoyment and in so doing takes into account the needs of land management and conserving the natural beauty of the area.


Membership of the Forum

Membership of the Forum is reviewed regularly to ensure a reasonable balance between the number of members from land-owning, recreation and local interests. Details of the current membership are included at the end of this report and at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/laf.

In 2019, Sue Weatherley and Adge Last, two long-term members who have contributed to the Forum for 10 and 8 years respectively, stood down after excellent service and advice. John Hall and Dan Richmond-Watson, representing land-owners, also departed. New members, Ben Seal and Steve Martin, brought to the Forum their focus on access to water and the environmental agenda.

Meetings of the Forum in 2019

Formal meetings of the Local Access Forum took place on the following dates:

  • Thursday 14 March - Aldern House, Bakewell
  • Thursday 6 June - Moorland Discovery Centre, Longshaw
  • Thursday 19 September - Aldern House, Bakewell
  • Thursday 5 December - Aldern House, Bakewell

Issues discussed at the formal meetings in 2019 included:

Fundraising

In February, the LAF welcomed the establishment of the Peak District Foundation and its ambitions and priorities starting with the #70kfor70 campaign for 70 years of National Parks. Updates on the Mend our Mountains works and funding were received at each meeting with LAF members also attending site meetings at Back Tor and at Cut Gate. The LAF also received updates on donations to the Access Fund for access improvements and the proposal for anniversary gates in the 20th year of the ‘freedom to roam’ legislation.

Miles without Stiles

In February, LAF members attended the celebratory launch of the National Park’s Miles without Stiles handbook at Castleton Visitor Centre. This included an accessible tour of Peak Cavern from the Castleton Miles without Stiles easy access route. The LAF was also updated on the maintenance and development of future routes funded by the Access Fund and sales of the handbook and received the Accessible Peak District Annual Report.

Derbyshire’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan

During the year there have been updates on the rights of way ease of use surveys and surface improvements for Hurstclough Lane, Chapel Gate and Minninglow/ Gallowlow Lanes. Information has also been provided on progress with legal orders and the work of the joint LAF Sub Group in providing support for volunteers interested in helping to restore the record of rights of way before the 2026 cut off date, with an event being held at the Derbyshire Record Office in September in conjunction with the British Horse Society. The updates have also included information about the County Council’s Countryside Service Review, Derbyshire’s emerging Key Cycle Network (KCN) and the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan which is being produced for the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire (D2N2) area, as well as details of the funding which has been secured for rights of way and multi-user Greenway/KCN route development and maintenance, including the Pennine Bridleway National Trail. There has also been interest in Derbyshire Connect, a demand responsive bus service operating in the Ashbourne, Hartington, Wirksworth and Turnditch areas, along with the valuable contribution which volunteers make in carrying out much needed maintenance work and improvements to the rights of way and Greenway networks

Access Update

At each Forum meeting and the Access Sub-group meetings in April, June and November, the LAF has considered long-term restrictions on Access Land. The LAF has also commented on the National Park Authority’s proposals and process for the disposal of minor properties and for the enhancement of the access and recreational interest at a number of key properties.

Formal Consultations

The Forum has responded to the following consultations:

  • Long-term direction restricting public access at Silence Mine
  • Review of directions at Deer Hill, Diggle, and West Nab
  • Derbyshire Countryside Service Review Training and Liaison

Training and Liaison

The LAF has been represented by members at:

  • National Park Management Plan (NPMP) delivery
  • Regional LAF Chair meetings
  • Sheffield Moors Partnership and Eastern Moors Partnership
  • Moorland Managers’ meeting
  • Land Managers Forum
  • National Park Authority’s Trails Management Plan
  • Stanage Forum

National Park Management Plan

The Forum is part of the Management Plan’s Advisory Group which champions and advises on its implementation. In 2019, LAF members contributed to the Events Workshop in February, the revision of the Countryside Code in July, and the Climate Change Summit in October and reported back to each meeting of the Forum.

Green Lanes

In March, the Forum was updated on the Authority’s action plans for the year ahead and received the Green Lanes Annual Report. LAF members supported looking after these routes as a valued resource and to link in with the Miles without Stiles work on accessibility. The Forum was also updated on the Traffic Regulation Order at Wetton Hills, repairs on routes, rural crime reporting and attended a site meeting at Houndkirk Road to consider damage on land adjacent to the track.

Access to Water

During 2019, the LAF received presentations by the Upper Derwent Catchment Partnership and on wild swimming. LAF members also inspected access for canoeing at Bamford Recreation Ground and the wheelyboat at Ladybower Fisheries.

Other key matters discussed:

  • The need to safeguard the popular Monsal Trail and the interest in reopening a railway
  • Moorland tracks
  • Mountain biking in the upper Derwent
  • The Explorer Bus
  • The Landscapes Review Report and the Forum’s response and suggestions to the National Park Authority and Defra Formal Consultations

The 20th Anniversary Year Ahead

  • Reflecting on and celebrating proudly the 20th anniversary of the CRoW Act 2000 and the Forum
  • Identifying access improvements and supporting efforts to secure contributions to the Access Fund
  • Contributing towards further development of Miles without Stiles easy access routes and accessibility improvements with partners
  • Inputting to the review and any asset disposal proposals from the National Park Authority to ensure safeguarding of access and recreation arrangements and potential
  • Involvement in landscape and other partnerships and the protection and promotion of countryside assets
  • Climate change – active and sustainable travel, including Derbyshire’s Walking and Riding networks
  • Input to the D2N2 Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan
  • Reviewing and supporting Derbyshire’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan
  • Strategic support for Pennine Way and Pennine Bridleway National Trails including pursuing completion of the Pennine Bridleway around Glossop
  • Contributing to the Staying on Track campaign for green lanes
  • Involvement in advising on delivery of outcomes of the National Park Management Plan
  • Input to the review of long-term directions on Access Land
  • Mountain biking and cycling opportunities for the wider Peak District and Derbyshire
  • Seeking further expansion and improvements to horse riding routes including Unrecorded Ways
  • Working with neighbouring Local Access Forums, Access and Highway Authorities on shared interests
  • Continuing to raise the profile of the Local Access Forum among a wider audience

Scheduled Meetings in 2020

  • Thursday 12 March Aldern House, Bakewell
  • Thursday 11 June Aldern House, Bakewell (CANCELLED)
  • Thursday 24 September Venue TBC
  • Thursday 3 December Venue TBC

Financial Statement 2019

The Peak District National Park Authority administers and provides secretariat for the Forum with officer input and financial support from Derbyshire County Council.

Members’ Travel                                £420
Room hire, refreshments & lunches  £607
Annual Report                                   £81
TOTAL                                               £1108

The Peak District National Park Authority administers and provides secretariat for the Forum with financial support from Derbyshire County Council.


Our Members

Member attendance at the LAF meetings in 2019.

Member attendance at the LAF meetings in 2019


Contact Details

Details of the Forum are available at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/laf All Forum meetings are open to the public and, by prior arrangement, members of the public may ask to speak at the meetings. Meetings are at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/lafmeetings and are available on audio webcast.

Mike Rhodes (Access and Rights of Way Manager, Peak District National Park Authority), mike.rhodes@peakdistrict.gov.uk

Gill Millward (Countryside Access Improvement Officer, Derbyshire County Council), gill.millward@derbyshire.gov.uk


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